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POLI 370 - Lectures 2 and 3, Week 2

by: runnergal

POLI 370 - Lectures 2 and 3, Week 2 POLI 370 001

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These notes cover what was discussed in class last week. They include information from the PowerPoint as well as specific examples and verbal points.
Introduction to Public Administration
Dr. Xuhong Su
Class Notes
political science, Government
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by runnergal on Sunday January 24, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POLI 370 001 at University of South Carolina taught by Dr. Xuhong Su in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 14 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Public Administration in Political Science at University of South Carolina.


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Date Created: 01/24/16
POLI 370 – Lecture 2 Layers and Units of Government  Federal (1)  State (50)  County (3,043)  School district (13,726)  Special districts (34,683)  Total governmental units: 87,507 Better school districts create higher property values, creating socio­economic segregation.  Federal, state, and local governments all have different responsibilities. Federal government  takes care of sectors like defense, the postal service, and social security. State government takes care of sectors like higher education, liquor stores, and highways. It also uses federal grants in  order to implement federal programs. Local government takes care of sectors like elementary  education, the police department, and the fire department. State and local government has  increased faster than federal government. Federalism 1. Federal government is responsible for those sectors because of national standards, where  everyone needs to be treated the same way; scale of economy, since the country can have  only one scale; and visibility of special interests and values, where the government needs  to ensure that every sector receives the same benefits. 2. States are essentially democracy labs. For example, some states like Colorado are  currently running a weed reform experiment. 3. Local government provides services close to the citizens. This closeness allows the best  services to correspond with local preferences. Local government provides direct delivery  of services to their constituents. Local government receives funds primarily through  property tax. Federal Spending: mandatory (65% for formula­based programs like social security, Medicare  and Medicaid, food stamps, etc.) discretionary (29%, used for all other government programs),  and interest on debt (6%). Entitlement: government programs created under legislation that defines eligibility standards,  but places no limit on total budget authority. The level of outlays is determined solely by the  number of eligible people who apply for authorized benefits under the existing law. The federal  government is committed to entitlement programs because of mobility concerns (people will  move to places with better benefits if state or local government is in charge of those programs)  and resource constraints (some states have less money than others). Spending on entitlement  programs keeps increasing. Additionally, state and local governments cannot control entitlement  programs because of the “race to the bottom”: the idea where competing governments will offer  worse and worse benefits in order to repel beneficiaries. Discretionary Spending: 54% of discretionary spending is spent on the military. Discretionary  spending is determined by appropriations bills. These bills are the only part of the governmental  financial process that the president can directly affect in any way. Most government aides work  in discretionary programs, as opposed to mandatory programs. State vs. Local Government:  Dillion’s Rule: local governments only have the powers that are expressly granted to  them by the state in these ways: 1. Granted in express words in the Constitution 2. Necessarily implied or necessarily incident to expressly granted powers 3. Absolutely essential to declared objectives and purposes of the corporation. Not  simply convenient, but indispensable.  Home Rule: there is a broad grant of power from the state giving municipalities the  authority to handle local matters with the need for special legislation by the state  specifically giving this authority so long as there are no conflicts with state laws. POLI 370 – Lecture 3 Government Tools:  1 .     Direct Provision: where the government gives you something (a service) without  resorting to or using other parties. There have been fewer direct provisions since the  1950s. They emulate representative democracy.  2 .     Indirect Provisions: avenues that change people’s incentives.  a .     Grants: where the federal government gives state and local governments  financial incentives to perform a certain task. For example, the Highway Fund  Grant requires states to set a 55 mph speed limit in urban areas.  b .    Regulation: networks of people. For example, caseworkers delegate some tasks  to other people or sectors, like Habitat for Humanity or Medicaid.  c .     Tax expenditures: where the government gives people money to perform a  certain task. For example, if you teach kids in South Carolina for eight years,  South Carolina will pay off your student loans or pay for your graduate schooling.  d .    Contract: where a private company delivers a public service. For example, many  states contract out the building and operation of their prisons. Why Direct Provisions:  Consequences of public goods is that the market will not willingly supply those goods.  Public goods are too important to be mishandled. Government decides how much of the  service to provide. For example, should South Carolina provide a police officer for every  100 people or for every 1,000 people?  Marginal willingness to pay: the amount that individuals are willing to pay for the next  unit of the good. This amount decreases as individuals receive more of the good.  Lindale pricing for public goods: 1. Government announces a set of tax prices for the public good. 2. Each individual says how much of the public good he or she wants at those tax  prices. 3. The government repeats these steps to construct a marginal willingness to pay  schedule for each individual. 4. The government adds up individual willingnesses to pay at each quantity of public good provided. 5. The government relates this overall demand curve to the marginal cost curve. 6. The government then finances this public good by charging individuals their  willingnesses to pay for that quantity.  Essentially, people decide to buy x units of a good at the government’s set price. The  government calculates the cost, then finds the equilibrium point between supply and  demand. However, this model does not work with public goods. Free Riding Issue: you cannot define how much of a public good is require to meet the public  need. People do not know how much they need, and they do not want to pay for those goods.  Therefore, we resort to these political mechanisms to provide public goods:     Direct democracy: different types of votes.     Referendum: a measure on the ballot by the government, allowing citizens to vote on  state laws or constitutional amendments that have already been passed by the state  legislature.      Legislative referendum: where the legislature refers a measure to the voters for  their approval.      Popular referendum: a measure that appears on a ballot as a result of a voter  petition curve.     Voter initiative: placement of legislation on the ballot by citizens. This initiative is a  process that enables citizens to bypass their state legislatures by placing proposed statues  or constitutional amendments on the ballots.     Majority voting: a mechanism used to aggregate individual votes into a social decision,  where individual policy options are put to a vote and the option that receives the majority  of votes is chosen. This mechanism could either produce positive results or a tyranny of  the majority. For example, Russian tenants voted to kill their landlords in order to get the  landlords’ lands. Vote­maximizing politicians represent the median voter. Essentially, this means that politicians  only care about the number of votes that they receive. Politicians will change their views in order to receive more votes. Lobbying: The expending of resources by certain individuals or groups in attempt to influence  politicians. Interest Groups Ordinary People Cost Divided between all  People are apathetic, busy, and would members of the group. rather freeride. Benefit Huge benefits. The benefit is divided by all of the  members; therefore, the benefit is  small. Advantages of this  political process: authoritative decisions concerning social values. They decide when, how  much, and the magnitude of these values. Disadvantages of this political process: who truly makes these decisions – politicians, interest  groups, or the people?  Who delivers public goods? Since bureaucrats are often focused on getting reelected,  there is goal displacement between government officials and the people.  These decisions are subject to fluctuations of political sentiments, economic cycles,  ideological fights, etc. For example, is there truly a shortage of STEM employees in the  U.S.?  Crowding out effect: negative impact on some groups in society.  Indirect Provision:  Resort to private and non­profit providers as well as state and local governments.  Develop partnerships, collaborations, and networks. Discouraged workers: people that stop looking for work and are therefore not included in the  unemployed count. This serves as an example of why workforce training programs are needed,  where the programs receive money from the government if graduates from the program get jobs.


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